10 Day California Coast Road Trip | Day 8: Santa Cruz, Muir Woods, California

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Overview: Visiting Santa Cruz and seeing hundreds of Sea Lions, driving across the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco to Muir Woods National Monument and hiking among the redwood trees.

Santa Cruz Pier

Our hotel was located on the beach, so we headed out for a lovely morning stroll on the beach.

The morning started off back where most of our trip had been – dark and gloomy!

Santa Cruz Pier, California | Gathered In The Kitchen

Sea Lions

After our beach walk, we headed out onto the Santa Cruz pier where we caught the most amazing sights and sounds of sea lions!

At first we had no idea we would see them. We were walking and heard extremely loud barking noises coming from the grates in the ground on the pier. The kids and I stopped to listen while Clayton walked on ahead…and then called to us to come see!

The pier was LOADED with sea lions! It was incredible! There we seriously so many! Most of them were perched up on the rafters of the pier – which they would have been able to jump up on to during high tide at night.

Sea Lions, Santa Cruz, California | Gathered In The Kitchen

We walked further down the pier and got a better shot of the sea lions! They were totally adorable all snuggled up and sleeping.

Sea Lions, Santa Cruz, California | Gathered In The Kitchen
Sea Lions, Santa Cruz, California | Gathered In The Kitchen
Sea Lions, Santa Cruz, California | Gathered In The Kitchen
Sea Lions, Santa Cruz, California | Gathered In The Kitchen

Towards the end of the pier, there were areas that were much easier to see the sea lions – they were hilariously funny…and noisy!

Watch with your šŸ”Š SOUND ON! šŸ˜‚

YouTube video
Sea Lions, Santa Cruz, California | Gathered In The Kitchen
Sea Lions, Santa Cruz, California | Gathered In The Kitchen

Breakfast at Dolphin

At the end of the pier, there is a restaurant called Dolphin. It overlooks the water, where many people were surfing, and lots of sea lions were swimming. I begged the waiter to switch jobs with me (he could be a stay at home mom and I would be a server) … because he had the best views! But he declined. Smhhh. ;-p

Dolphin Restaurant, Santa Cruz, CA | Gathered In The Kitchen

We attempted to walk back to the car and head north to San Francisco…but made a few detour stops along the way!

Santa Cruz, California | Gathered In The Kitchen

Bills Wheels Skateshop, Santa Cruz

We had stopped into a gift shop and the boys saw some skateboard deck that they liked. After talking with the employees, they suggested that we head over to Bills Wheels Skateshop, the original Santa Cruz skate shop and check them out.

So, we loaded up and headed to Bills. The boys each picked out their very own Santa Cruz skateboard and met Bill, the owner and founder!

Bills Wheels Skateshop, Santa Cruz, California | Gathered In The Kitchen
Bills Wheels Skateshop, Santa Cruz, California | Gathered In The Kitchen

Then of course, they had to take them for a spin around the parking lot.

YouTube video

Pillar Point Harbor, California

We made a few more stops along the Pacific Coast Highway 1 before finally arriving in San Francisco. At Pillar Point Harbor, we saw a capsized boat being rescued in the cove! Very interesting! We weren’t sure if it was legit, or if they were using the boat for training purposes. Either way, it was an interesting sight!

Pillar Point Harbor, California | Gathered In The Kitchen

San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge

By mid afternoon, we finally had made our way to San Francisco. While we planned on spending the next couple of days here (since our plans to visit Yosemite were derailed by weather), I will share more about San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge in the next couple of days. Today we just about driving over it, both ways, to go to Muir Woods National Monument!

Don’t worry! There will be way better photos of the Golden Gate Bridge in day 9… or you can check out our photos from WALKING across the bridge in 2015.

San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge | Gathered In The Kitchen
YouTube video

Muir Woods National Monument

Muir Woods National Monument | Gathered In The Kitchen
Muir Woods National Monument | Gathered In The Kitchen
Muir Woods National Monument | Gathered In The Kitchen
Muir Woods National Monument | Gathered In The Kitchen

And…my favorite…the grow old together tree! Seriously. I mean, come on. How sweet are these two trees? They literally have grown up together! … Soooooo much like Clayton and I. I had a crush on him when I was in 7th grade, dated him my sophomore year, and then got back together forever when I was 19. He’s my _____ . We are just like the two trees, that have grown old (and wide šŸ˜‚) together!

Muir Woods National Monument | Gathered In The Kitchen

While the trees at Muir Woods were nothing like those at Mariposa Grove, they were still neat…however, if you’re able to get out to Yosemite, definitely make sure you visit Mariposa Grove to see the sequoias! Here’s a little sneak photo of what you’ll expect…

Mariposa Grove, Yosemite National Park | Gathered In The Kitchen

We left Muir Woods, crossed back over the Golden Gate Bridge, drove over the Oakland bridge and into the hills of Walnut Creek to meet up with Clayton’s brother and girlfriend!

Walnut Creek/Cheesecake Factory

Clayton’s brother has lived in California for years, but unfortunately, we haven’t made it out as a whole family to see him! So this was super fun! Not only did we get to see him, we got to meet his super hilarious and sweet girlfriend! Yay!!

Cheesecake Factory, Walnut Creek, CA | Gathered In The Kitchen

The kids LOVED the cheesecake…and were blown away at the amount of calories in each piece šŸ¤¢ šŸ˜‚

Cheesecake Factory, Walnut Creek, CA | Gathered In The Kitchen

Day 8 certainly was filled with lots of memorable events!

Bellagio Water Show Las Vegas | Gathered In The Kitchen

10 Day California Coast Road Trip | Day 1: Las Vegas, Nevada

Joshua Tree National Park | Gathered In The Kitchen

10 Day California Coast Road Trip | Day 2: Joshua Tree National Park

Santa Monica Pier | Gathered In The Kitchen

10 Day California Coast Road Trip | Day 3: Santa Monica & Ventura, California

Santa Barbara, California | Gathered In The Kitchen

10 Day California Coast Road Trip | Day 4: Ojai & Santa Barbara, California

Channel Islands Island Packers Cruise | Gathered In The Kitchen

10 Day California Coast Road Trip | Day 5: Channel Islands National Park, California

Solvang, California | Gathered In The Kitchen

10 Day California Coast Road Trip | Day 6: Solvang, San Simeon & Big Sur, California

Point Lobos State Natural Reserve | Gathered In The Kitchen

10 Day California Coast Road Trip | Day 7: Big Sur, Point Lobos, & Cannery Row, California

Muir Woods National Monument | Gathered In The Kitchen

10 Day California Coast Road Trip | Day 8: Santa Cruz, Muir Woods, California

Golden Gate Bridge | Gathered In The Kitchen

10 Day California Coast Road Trip | Day 9: San Francisco, California

Walnut Creek, California | Gathered In The Kitchen

10 Day California Coast Road Trip | Day 10: Walnut Creek, California

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